Shūnyam And ‘True Self’

The intuition is irresistible: Get rid of the Modeled-Self and awake to ‘True Self’.


Vedanthic Teaching as we see it today likely originates in the terminology of the Chandogya, with its: ‘Subtle Inner Essence’. It takes root in the word Ātmanrelated to the English word ‘Animate’: to come alive, [the Latin Anima Mundi]. Ātman is simply: ‘That which animates Life’.

It was repeatedly expanded upon over the centuries with numerous further attributes all the way through Gaudapada, finally fixing itself as ‘True Self’, which is the way it is taught today.

If you can stay truly convinced that nothing at all may be said about the ‘Subject’, ‘True Self’ and Shūnyam would not be differentiable. For that to happen ‘True Self’ needs to be properly interpreted and soberly held to that interpretation. [See: ‘Sight’ To Shūnyam‘]

All the evidence we have from the literature is that this is almost impossible to effect. And more relevantly, the struggle is unwarranted given that we have a fully formulated Shūnyam ready for the taking.

The problem is that the very notion of ‘ True Self’ risks being treated as a residual binary, the tail-end of Modeled Views.

‘True Self’ typically becomes an exalted, deified extension of the Modeled-Self. ‘True Self’ was ‘lost’ and had to be ‘Found’; the World was ‘illusory’, even inherently ‘Deceitful’ and so on. Man is already Fallen and must find his fulfillment in Release [Moksha].

[I have seen the same kind of erroneous exaltations about Shūnyathā in the Buddhist commentaries as I have about ‘True Self’ in the Vedantha. Both arise in short-stops to Shūnyam. The latter expression shows up again occasionally in Zen literature.]

Yājñavalkya’s Rule is being kept linear. The self-scuttling disconnects before the final, fatal thrust. ‘True Nothing’ is once again been reified and conceptualized.


There is a selective literature on Nirguna Brahman which repeatedly tags the idea of ‘True Self’ with the qualification that the ‘True Self’ is unique in that the ‘Subject; Object’ Divide does not apply to it. It is a strained argument and conceptually very difficult to wrap around. And unnecessary.


Yagñá: The Central Religious Act

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